Decorating with Royal Icing

March 1, 2010 in cookie by amanda

I’ve been getting lots of questions about decorating with royal icing so I think it’s about time I do a post about it.

Royal icing is a lot like bread making in that you have to get a feel for it. You’ll probably have the icing too thick or too thin the first few times you give it a try but eventually you’ll figure out exactly what works for you.

A few tips:

1. I use Wilton’s 2 tip for almost all outlining. The 3 tip works in a pinch but the 1 is so small that the line gets squiggly if you don’t touch down on the cookie enough (what happened to some of the stars up above).

2. Buy lots of the tip you use to outline. I like to have one for each color I plan on using so that I don’t have to keep cleaning tips.

3. Some people swear by squeeze bottles when you start flooding (filling in) the cookies, but I use baby spoons. They works just as well and they’re so much easier to clean than squeeze bottles.

4. Royal icing is pretty good about spreading and evening itself out but I like to take a toothpick and make sure the icing gets in all the small spaces.

5. Use gel food coloring ALWAYS. The liquid stuff will make it too thin.

Here is the royal icing recipe that has worked best for me.

Royal Icing
from Bake at 350

4 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp light corn syrup (optional)
few drops clear extract (optional)

Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.

Add in the corn syrup and extract if desired. (The corn syrup helps keep the icing shiny.) Increase speed to high and beat for about 5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.

This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula, until it is the consistency of syrup.

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